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Whatever You Call Yourself, Please Don’t Sign Your Pleadings This Way

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It’s the perennial question for lawyers starting a law firm – what do you call yourself? As I wrote here over two years ago, Enrico Schaefer maintains that the term “solo” is inaccurate. And more recently, the topic has been discussed on Solosez. As for me, I’ve always regarded the term “solo” as a catch phrase for lawyers who start a firm – be it one lawyer or multiples. And my upcoming book, Solo by Choice uses the term “solo” in the title because it’s the most universally recognized phrase for lawyers who choose to step out on their own to work for themselves, rather than others.

Still, though I don’t have a problem using the term solo descriptively, I’d never use it to describe myself. When I meet other attorneys, I explain that I’m an independent practitioner or (more preferable) that I have my own law firm. But even if you have a close attachment to the term solo, please – don’t ever sign off on a pleading the way the way that this Phelps Family lawyer did: Margie Phelps, A Sole Practitioner. In fact, the entire pleading makes me cringe – and is an example of why, despite all of our best efforts, we self-starting lawyers still face image problems.

  • Thanks for the post — but the Margie Phelps links aren’t working. I’m dying to know the irony of her “solo” usage!

  • Diana

    Labeling herself a “solo” is truly the least of her problems.

  • I guess it’s late and I’m tired, but can you please explain why it’s bad to use “sole practitioner?” Thanks in advance!

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